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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

QuestionPro enters the social polling space

Web survey specialists QuestionPro acquired PollBob, a community polling startup with a website and iPhone app used by over 350,000 registered users this week. QuestionPro CEO Vivek Bhaskaran tells Research how PollBob will accelerate the firm’s investment into social polling.

Research: What is it about PollBob that led to you acquiring it?
Vivek Bhaskaran:
We’ve been interested in social polling for some time now because, in my opinion, it is going to mature over the next couple of years and be a huge area of interest for businesses. Lots have tried to dominate this space, but it’s not mainstream just yet so it makes sense for us to dip our toes into this space. PollBob had great scope in this area, especially given it was a start-up company of just two people and is only two years old.

By acquiring the company, it allows us to try out various methodologies and see if we are right in thinking it will be an important research tool that more brands will want to adopt over the next few years. We were planning a push into this area anyway and recognised PollBob has a great piece of technology to enable us to accelerate our investment into social polling.

The fast turnaround of their polling software means we can gather data very quickly and offer brands better intelligence with which they can make business decisions.

How will PollBob complement your existing portfolio of tools?
VB:
Currently, QuestionPro has the breadth and depth of tools that a marketing researcher needs to do his job using any methodology they require. We’ve always said that we would be constantly innovating and adding new capabilities to expand our services and PollBob allows us to do just this. The fast turnaround of their polling software means we can gather data very quickly and offer brands better intelligence with which they can make business decisions.

We envisage this will be particularly useful to local businesses who want to adapt their strategies around local needs, such as targeting the right demographic and knowing how to beat competitors. The benefit of having this social polling addition is it can be done rapidly for lower costs, whilst offering higher return on investment. Fundamentally that sort of value for money is exactly what marketers want nowadays. For the panel members, we will incentivise them with a points-based system and we are looking into extending our current gift cards system on to the PollBob platform too.

What are your plans for growing the PollBob community?
VB:
PollBob comes to us with a ready-made 350,000-strong community, which is a brilliant start. Its deal earlier this year to add 270,000 users via its acquisition of DIY polling site Misterpoll really strengthened its potential and we hope we can do the same through our acquisition. We have 2.5 million users across the QuestionPro portfolio right now and our goal is to supercharge both and get them participating in the various activities across the offerings. However, we won’t be strong-arming anyone to do it.

The aim is that people want to participate in the social polling themeselves – particularly those who use mobiles to participate in surveys regularly. The bigger the community, the greater we anticipate demand will be from businesses to test out social polling. This is what we really wanted PollBob for.

The majority of its business model came through the iOS app and undoubtedly mobile research is the place to be right now. We feel, though, that the offering is missing out on half the market by only being part of Apple’s App Store.

PollBob’s iOS app was particularly key to its success. How do you plan on enhancing this?
VB:
Social and mobile go together very well and that’s really what has made PollBob the success story that it is. The majority of its business model came through the iOS app and undoubtedly mobile research is the place to be right now. We feel, though, that the offering is missing out on half the market by only being part of Apple’s App Store. So the first thing we are investing in is replicating this app across the Android and Windows marketplaces too.

We’re hoping that we can get these up and ready for use as quickly as possible – certianly within the next couple of months. For rapid short-form polling like this, mobile really is the answer and we’re increasingly seeing this take off within the market research world. PollBob’s expertise in this gives us confidence that we can really encapuslate the best snapshot results and analysis via mobile in the most effective and efficent ways possible.

Finally, you’ve taken PollBob co-founder Ben Jacobson into your team. What will he be doing now?
VB:
We’ll be utilising Ben’s experience in social polling to spearhead our advances into this area within our company. Ben will be in charge of all social polling within QuestionPro and will supervise the integration of the two companies in the long-term. We’re expecting to have more announcements to make in the coming months over new advances developing the fusion of these two companies and really promoting innovation in the ways our customers expect us to.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Interesting news and kudos to Vivek and Ben on the deal. I have been saying for a year now that while it is easy to dismiss "polling" apps, they actually can be quite useful. Would I rather do a "real survey"? Sure. But a poll can be a great sneak attack on survey resisters. It is actually one the of methods I teach to Research Rockstar students in our Online Research Methods class.

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  • Completely agree with Kathryn. Congratulations Vivek and Ben. Polling apps are "feeders", or almost like "content screeners" for further research aims. It's all about respondent motivation.

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